state Sen. Joe Addabbo, D-South Ozone Park, has made his first act in the new session of the state Senate a downright clerical one. He has sponsored a new bill to change the font and size of type on ballots to make them easier to read.
"This was the most common complaint I heard on the campaign trail from my people and I promised them that I would see it was fixed," Addabbo said. "Current election law does not contain any requirements as to ballot readability or usability, and only requires candidates' names to appear in all capital bold-type letters with no minimum type size, which made many ballots used in New York City and elsewhere very difficult and frustrating for voters to read and to use."
The bill, S.609, would create a requirement that ballots statewide adhere to a large, bold-face typeset when printing out ballots, and that many of the county and city board of elections have a staffer trained in ballot functionality on staff at all times.
Addabbo said that current board of elections employees could easily undergo training to prevent cash-strapped counties from having to hire additional staff to comply with the law.
During the course of the 2010 elections in Queens, employees from the New York City Board of Election toured the borough, giving primers on how to use the new ballots, and how to use the materials provided to help the print appear larger.
In addition to a magnifying glass provided at each voting station, the board of election provided high-wattage lights and a large, computerized ballot marking device designed to help those who had trouble reading the small print.
Addabbo said that these measures pale in comparison to simply increasing the size and readability of the print on the page.
If the law passes, ballots statewide will be required to print candidate names, office titles and party affiliations in bold, black type of at least 12-point size.